Easy to Follow Steps to Write a Successful Synopsis for your Unpublished Manuscript

Feb 14 09:15 2008 Kev Woodward Print This Article

When you submit your manuscript an editor has very little time to appraise your work so writing an excellent synopsis is crucial to your chances of success - here are some tips that can help you succeed in getting your manuscript

Congratulations! The mere fact that you are reading this article suggests that you have finished writing the manuscript for your fiction / non-fiction,Guest Posting children’s book or short story. Or that you have almost finished writing it. Or, maybe that you are thinking about writing it1 Regardless, you deserve to be congratulated! Entering into the literary world can be a very daunting, challenging and frustrating experience – but well worth the journey. And you should be applauded for taking the plunge! Right, back to the focus of this article, namely, how to write a synopsis for your completed manuscript. This is never an easy task, especially for those of you who like to use long, meandering sentences and descriptive words. A successful synopsis should be succinct, structured and surprise-free! Follow these five simple steps and take the pain out of summarizing your writing! Step 1 – Know your manuscript This sounds simple enough, but you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to forget elements of your own work – particularly if you have been writing your manuscript over a long period of time, or if it includes several complicated storylines. So before you set about writing a synopsis of your work you must re-read the manuscript in its entirety; make sure you know your words intimately! Step 2 – Draft a précis Once you are confident that you know the characters, storyline and language of your manuscript inside out, you can start to draft a summary of your book. Allow the same proportion of words for your synopsis as you have for each section of your manuscript – the introductory sentences and closing section of the synopsis should be shorter than the main body. Step 3 – Now halve it! I can almost guarantee that the first draft of your synopsis will be far too long! A well written précis should be approximately 300 words, certainly no longer! So the next thing you need to do is edit your synopsis and slim it down! Your final synopsis must focus on the primary story line, don’t get bogged down in trying to discuss any secondary storylines unless they are pivotal to the book. At the same time, don’t forget to state how the book ends. The synopsis of your manuscript should be a complete reflection of the main storyline – and that includes the ending. Publishers do not like surprises! Step 4 – Every word counts – don’t be too descriptive! When self-editing your synopsis, remember to review every word! 300 words is a tiny amount of text to play with, especially if you are trying to summarize a 100,000 word manuscript. EVERY WORD COUNTS, so use them wisely. Use them to clearly state the main story line, to discuss the characterization of the pivotal individuals and to create some intrigue, without leaving out key events. Step 5 – Get a second opinion (if you can bear it!) Drafting, editing and finalizing the précis to your manuscript are the three primary steps to completing a perfect synopsis! But nothing beats an objective opinion! And so my final piece of advice to you would be to get someone else to read your finalised synopsis. And then ask them to give you an honest review on how well you have pulled it together. Are they able to provide you with an accurate reflection of the main storyline that runs through the manuscript? Can they articulate the personalities of the key characters? Does the synopsis interest them sufficiently – do they want to read the manuscript in its entirety? As painful as it is, nothing beats a critical review of your work from an objective source! Writing a synopsis can, for many writers, be the hardest part of completing the manuscript submission process. It does however play an important part in securing a publication deal! Many agents and publishers will use the quality of a manuscript’s synopsis to decide whether or not the continue reading an author’s submission. So make sure you give your synopsis the time and attention it deserves!

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Kev Woodward
Kev Woodward

Want to improve your chance of getting your manuscript accepted? Visit Words Worth Reading for manuscript proofreading and appraisal services or proofreading and appraisal of articles.

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